New partners in the 5G for Italy program include Cisco, SAP and Arthur D. Little

Italian mobile operator TIM, owned by telecommunications group Telecom Italia, and Swedish vendor Ericsson have announced that 12 institutional and industrial partners have signed up for their joint “5G for Italy” initiative.

Through the project, TIM and Ericsson aim to create an open ecosystem for research and implementation of innovative projects enabled by 5G technology in the European country.

The two partners said that Ansaldo Energia, Arthur D. Little, Cisco, Comau, Pisa’s Istituto Superiore Sant’Anna, Turin’s Politecnico, the Port of Livorno/CNIT, Seikey, SAP and Zucchetti System Centre as well as Ericsson and TIM are now collaborating on pilot projects in the field of 5G.

TIM and Ericcson signed an agreement to launch this program in June 2016. The firms highlighted that this is the first initiative in Italy that brings together industries, the public sector, leading universities, research centers, local authorities and small and medium enterprises, focused on the development and test of new services that use next generation 5G networks as an enabler.

5G for Italy will also focus on industry pilots of possible 5G solutions in areas including smart city, the internet of things, Industry 4.0, transport and smart agriculture. The “5G for Italy” program has already identified a number of pilot projects to be implemented, including security systems for the management of cycles and automated production processes, logistical tracking of luxury goods, solutions dedicated to mobility of goods within ports, cloud robotics for 5G enabled manufacturing, broadband services applied to automotive sector, management and remote monitoring of health parameters and immersive video services enablement.

TIM is currently carrying out trials of 5G technology in order to pave the way for a commercial launch in 2020. Last month, the Italian telco activated what it claims to be the first 5G antenna with millimeter wave support in Italy. The trial, which took place in the northern city of Turin, reached record connection of 20 Gbps.

Telecom Italia said this 5G trial follows on from the Memorandum of Understanding signed last March between TIM and Turin’s municipal authority to implement the “Turin 5G” project, which aims to provide gradual coverage of the city with 5G technologies by 2020.

For “Turin 5G”, TIM is developing applications and new solutions for the smart city, environmental monitoring, public safety, the vehicle industry, 4.0 industry, healthcare, education, mobility and road safety, logistics and smart agriculture.

In September, TIM collaborated with compatriot operator Fastweb to launch 5G trials in a number of cities across Italy. The companies will deploy the connectivity in the 3.7GHz band in Bari and Matera in southern Italy. Chinese vendor Huawei will also take part in these 5G trials.

Rival operator Vodafone Italy has recently launched its project to test 5G technologies via the 3.6-3.8 GHz band in the city of Milan. The telco said it will be working with a total of 28 partners on the project, which is budgeted at 90 million euros ($106 million).

Vodafone Italy said the network will cover 80% of the city and surrounding metropolitan areas by the end of next year and 100% by 2019.

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